Core Literature

In fall 2003, the University of New Mexico adopted a revised Core Curriculum required for all UNM undergraduate students. The courses in the Core Curriculum according to the UNM Catalog are “designed to enhance each student’s academic capabilities,” to ensure “grounding in the broad knowledge and intellectual values obtained in a liberal arts education,” and to provide a “shared academic experience.” The Department of English offers courses that satisfy two of the seven areas of study: Writing and Speaking and Humanities.

English 150, “Analysis of Literature,” and English 292/293 “Surveys of World Literature” count toward fulfilling the six-hour Humanities requirement for the UNM Core Curriculum. Each of these courses is designed to meet the broad objectives of the UNM Core, as well as to introduce undergraduates to the discipline of English and world literary and cultural studies. English 150, 292, and 293 offer students opportunities to write about and discuss literature and literary forms in multiple genres, as well as to make connections from the literary works to the fine arts, culture, and history, culture. All three courses also engage students in various degrees of literary analysis and writing about literature in order to hone their stylistic, analytical and critical skills.

There are no pre-requisites for English 150, 292 and 293. See below for course descriptions, objectives and student learning outcomes, as well as sample syllabi.


English 150: The Study of Literature

An introduction to the study literature, emphasizing how critical understanding of literary genres, techniques, and conventions can enhance our appreciation of literature and its themes.

Catalog Course Description:

An introduction to the study and appreciation of literature for non-English majors. Shows how understanding writers’ techniques increases the enjoyment of their works; relates these techniques to literary conventions; teaches recognition, analysis, discussion of important themes.

Learning Objectives:

By participating in class discussions about literature, writing some combination of weekly short papers and a few 4-6 page papers, and one or two in-class examinations, students will engage in a study and appreciation of literature that emphasizes how understanding writers’ techniques increases the enjoyment of their works. As part of gaining an understanding of writers’ techniques, students will be introduced to basic literary conventions in the genres of poetry, drama, and fiction, and will gain practice in recognizing and analyzing literary themes as they are distinctively expressed in poems, on the stage, and in fiction. At the instructor’s option, students may be introduced to the genres of film and/or nonfiction prose, as well.

Learning Outcomes:

Students will be able to

  1. recognize and analyze basic themes in literature
  2. recognize and describe literary conventions in the genres of poetry, fiction and drama. 
  3. write brief essays in response to questions about literature.

Evaluation Measures:

  • One or two in-class examinations containing identification and essay(s). 
  • At least 20 pages of writing assignments, preferably a mix of weekly short papers and three 4-6 page papers assigned at regular intervals across the sixteen-week semester. One longer final paper (6-8 pages), or one creative assignment, may be substituted for one of the short essays.

Sample Syllabus:

Coming soon!


English 292: World Literatures: Ancient World Through the 16th Century

English 293: World Literatures: 17th Century through the Present

English 292 is a survey of key texts in world literature from the ancient world through the 16th century. Includes fiction, poetry, drama, and creative non-fiction from Mesopotamia, Egypt, Mesopotamia, Greece, Rome, the Near East, Japan, India, China, Africa, Europe, and the Americas.

English 293 is a survey of key texts in world literatures from the 17th century through the present. Includes fiction, poetry, drama, and creative non-fiction from the Japan, India, China, Africa, the Arabic world, Europe, and the Americas.

Learning Objectives:

English 292 and 293, World Literatures, broadly aim to introduce Freshman and/or Sophomore students to a diverse range of texts from a necessarily small, but important sample of works from the world’s literary traditions; to help develop an historical awareness of the stylistic, structural and generic transformations within and across those traditions; and to help them experience the rewards, while recognizing the problems and limits, of reading across time and place, cultures and languages. The courses engage students in the study of the literary, historical, cultural, and human significance of those works, and stimulate critical discussion of questions about translation, transculturation, and the global diffusion and cross-dissemination of cultural and literary themes, motifs, styles, and structures.

After taking English 292 and/or 293 students should recognize that from the earliest times literary and non-literary works reflect and contribute to the increasingly interdependent and complex web of relations among peoples and places, cultures and nations. Moreover, students should recognize that while literary works often hold out the promise of a global community united by common interests and timeless human values, they also preserve the unique cultural character of national and local traditions.

Learning Outcomes:

Students will be able to

  1. situate key authors and literary works from about 1650 to the present within their historical and cultural contexts (in short essays and examinations); 
  2. compare and contrast works from different cultures and historical periods to those from other cultural traditions and other historical eras examining genre, style, and content or theme (in short essays and examinations); 
  3. analyze and interpret works from different historical and cultural traditions using appropriate critical terms of literary analysis and responding to questions about genre, style, and content or theme (in short essays and examinations; 
  4. recognize and evaluate how some literary works reflect historical, national, cultural, and ethnic differences, even as they invoke shared human experiences that may relate to readers and the world today (in short essays and examinations) 
  5. write with increasing proficiency critical essays characterized by original and insightful theses, supported by logically integrated and sound subordinate ideas, appropriate and pertinent evidence, and good sentence structure, diction, grammar, punctuation, and spelling.

Evaluation Measures:

By participating in class discussion, writing short papers, and writing short-answer and short essay quizzes and examinations, students will engage in a dialogic and reflexive conversation about literary texts; analyze, contextualize, and compare and contrast major (and some minor) works from the world’s literatures; show how those texts are related to their places and times of origin; identify recurrent themes, motifs, genres, and literary movements; and identify and evaluate the relationships among those works, as well as what makes each work distinctive or unique.

Sample Syllabi:

Harrison 292 Syllabus

Harrison 293 Syllabus